Seoul Layover Guide (ICN)

Incheon International Airport (ICN) is the largest international airport located in South Korea and it serves the Seoul Capital Area made of Seoul, Incheon, and Gyeonggi-do. The airport is located 48 km (30 mi) from Seoul. It was officially opened in 2001 and it has become a major international transportation hub for commercial flights and cargo traffic in East Asia. Seoul is the capital of South Korea, it is also a culture, technology, and commercial hub. This huge metropolis is known as where modern skyscrapers, high-tech subways, and pop culture meet Buddhist temples, palaces, and street markets.

Can you leave Seoul Airport (ICN) airport during a layover? Do you need a visa?
Foreign nationals from many countries are now permitted visa-free entry for a limited period under certain conditions so they can visit Seoul during a layover. (more info).

Tours/To do | Relax/Sleep | Internet/SIM | Transport | Storage | Money

Tours, Things to do, Sightseeing

Organized Tours

Seoul: South Korea Demilitarized Zone Half & Full Day Tour

Experience the extraordinary Korean Demilitarized Zone on the South Korean side. This zone is one of the borders in the world with the most contention. Learn all about the war between North and South Korea and the origins of the demilitarized zone. Get a rare glimpse of North Korea from the Ganghwa Peace Observatory where you can have the closest views. Walk around rather untouched paths, enclosed by barbed wires and stop by at 6.25 Veterans Memorial Park where you can learn about the tragic history of the Korean War. This is truly one of the world’s most unusual tourist destinations. » book this tour

Seoul: Nanta Show at Myeongdong Theatre

Enjoy the drama and comedy of South Korea’s longest running theatrical performance and marvel at the energetic culinary skills of the must-see Nanta show in the Myeongdong Theatre in Seoul. They put up a non-verbal performance that merges traditional Samulnori with comedy and drama. The narrative centers around 3 charismatic chefs who are ordered by the ill-tempered manager to prepare 10 wedding ceremony menus in 1 hour! This puts the kitchen in turmoil and makes for a great show as they attempt to finish in time. » book this tour

Han River: Night Cruise with Live Music & Optional Fireworks

This is one of the best ways to take a break from metropolitan Seoul. Join this unique cruise on the Han River to enjoy breathtaking views of the city and live music onboard. The Han River represents the heart of Seoul. The river cruise allows you to explore a completely different side of the city, with well-decorated bridges and the sound of seagulls following the cruise. The charm of the night-time cruise offers is the chance to experience Seoul’s skyscraper lights. » book this tour

Things to do / Sightseeing

Seoul Tower

This is a communications and observation tower that provides splendid views of the city. It measures about 500 meters above the beautiful and lively Seoul. It is located on the side of Mount Namsan where you can reach via a cable car from one of its sides to the base of the tower. There are four observation decks here, and one of them is a rotating restaurant. Also, there’s a digital observatory where people who aren’t so tall can have a 360- degree view on LED screens and mounted cameras on top of the tower.

Time required: 2 hours.

Airport to here: It usually takes about 20 minutes to get here by taxi or 1 hour by using the subway.

National Museum of Korea

The National Museum of Korea located in Seoul brings to bear the incredible history and artwork of Korea and her natives. Being one of the largest museums in Asia, its focus is on history, archeology, and art which includes a vast collection of works and objects dating back to over a million years. There are many prehistoric and ancient artifacts, paintings, sculptures and other artwork at the museum. Head here for a memorable experience.

Time required: 2 hours.

Airport to here: It usually takes 20 minutes to get here by taxi or 1 hour by subway.

Lotte World Tower

The Lotte World Tower skyscraper is one of the latest attractions in the beautiful city of Seoul. It is 500 meters above the ground and is currently the fifth tallest building in the world. At the top of the 123rd floor, there are many indoor and outdoor observation areas known as Seoul Sky which provide great views at any time. You can also see around the city in 360- degrees. Surprisingly, the floor changes from opaque to clear, terrifying unsuspecting visitors on the 118th floor where there’s the Sky Deck.

Time required: 2 hours.

Airport to here: You can get here in less than 10 minutes by taxi or in 25 minutes by using the subway.

Bukchon Hanok Village

Architecture and traditional culture of the Korean natives are at their best in the Bukchon Hanok village. This is an area of various ancient vicinities that gives you a feel of how it’s like to live in Korea about 600 years ago due to how well it is preserved. Guess what? This amazing place is in the center of the city.

Time required: 3 hours.

Airport to here: You can reach here in 20 minutes by taxi or in about 50 minutes by subway.

Blue House

The Blue House is to Korea just as White House is to the United States. This magnificent structure is the official residence of the Korean president, the same as the location of his and other executive officers of state. The Blue House with blue tile roofs from which it gets its name is built in traditional Korean style.

Time required: 1 hour.

Airport to here: It takes an average of 25 minutes to get here by taxi or an hour by subway.

Bongeunsa

There are many Buddhist temples in Seoul and Bongeunsa is one of them.It was in the year 794 and is home to multiple buildings and shrines. The temple is located in Gangnam directly across the street from the massive COEX convention center and the mall where convention-goers to take a break and enjoy the peaceful and serene atmosphere. You can experience the life of monks here for a short time.

Time required: 1 hour.

Airport to here: It takes 10 minutes to reach here by taxi or 40 minutes by subway via Gachon Univ Station.

Gwanghwamun Gate

This is the largest and main gate to Seoul’s Gyeongbokgung Palace. Performed since 1469,the changing of guards ceremony happens here everyday from 10am to 2pm except Tuesdays. The gate was restored to its original location and reconstructed with native material in 2010 after several renovations.

Time required: 1 hour.

Airport to here: It takes about 20 minutes to get here here by taxi or 51 minutes by the line 5 subway.

Cheonggyecheon

This is a natural creek that flows through central Seoul that was covered over by highways in the post-Korean War economic boom. Seven whole miles of the creek were uncovered as part of an urban revitalization project and turned into an outdoor recreation area, that opened in 2005. Today it’s seven miles hiking, walking, and biking trails. The Seoul lantern festival is also held here each November where ornate, lighted paper lanterns along and inside the creek.

Time required: 2 hours.

Airport to here: It will take 20 minutes to get here by taxi or 50 minutes by subway.

Relaxing and Sleeping

Airport Lounges and Relaxing
The airport has many lounges. » view all lounges or buy a lounge pass or membership online

Hotel and Sleeping
There are options for transit hotels and many other hotels close to the airport. » view all or book an airport hotel online

Rest Area and Sleeping in Airport
There are designated rest areas such as Relax Zones with comfy recliner chairs and Nap Zones with padded beds found in Terminals 1 and 2 on the 4th floor.

WIFI/Internet and SIM Card

WIFI/Internet: There is Free WiFi available everywhere at Seoul Incheon Airport.

SIM Card: There are several shops within the airport that sell SIM cards.

Transportation to/from airport

Taxi: There are official airport taxis that are readily available at the airport taxi stands just out the terminals.

Train: The high-speed Airport Railroad service connects the Airport with several destinations including the Gimpo International Airport and the Seoul Central Train Station. (more info).

Bus: Local buses operate between the airport's terminals and most parts of Seoul and the surrounding cities. (more info).

Shuttle: There are free shuttle services that link up parts of the airport.

Car rentals: Many car rental agencies like Lotte, AJ Rent-A-Car and Sixt can be found near the airport complex. » view available cars or rent a car now online

Parking: Safe and secure parking facilities are available for short term or long term parking.

Luggage Storage & Lockers

There are luggage storage centres in the Main Passenger Terminal.

Money Exchange and Withdrawal

- Seoul Airport (ICN) ATMs, currency exchanges and banks
- Order your foreign currency ONLINE and PICK IT UP at the airport!